Dozens of Montrealers left without homes after July 1 moving day frenzy
Moving day in Montreal this year has been particularly tough for some, unable to find housing that fits their budget — or one that accepts their pets.
Dozens of people say they have had to turn to the city for help.
“The vacancy rate is a little bit lower than usual,” explained City Councillor Craig Sauvé.
“Usually, at three per cent, it’s equilibrium, but it’s been 1. 9 per cent according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and it’s lower for families — 0.8 per cent — so, families are having a hard time.”
City officials are following 98 households until they can find permanent housing. Of them, at least 28 households are seeking out shelter services.
“Some are families, some are single occupants, some are groups of adults,” Sauvé told Global News.
“It’s a stressful moment for all these households stuck in the limbo of not knowing where they’re going to be.”
Sauvé points out another reasons for the difficult housing market could be the AirBnB boom.
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“We’ve had 4,000 to 7,000 units taken up from the housing market into the commercial [AirBnB] market. That’s a pressure. The economy is doing well, meaning people are moving in, skilled workers are moving in, so that’s a pressure as well,” Sauvé explained.
Tenants with pets say they’re having a particularly difficult time finding a home — some have even been forced to give them away just to find housing.
“We don’t want people abandoning their pets and we encourage everyone to responsibly have their animals adopted through an adoption agency or SPCA…and not just leave them in apartments or on streets,” said City Councillor Sterling Downey.
“[It is] time this it is changed or modified to reduce abandonment and unnecessarily euthanizing healthy adoptable pets [that could go] to loving families.”
However, the Quebec Landlords Corporation (CORPIQ) maintains it remains up to landlords to decide whether or not to allow animals.
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“It’s the decision of the landlord to allow pets or not,” said Hans Brouillette, director of public affairs for CORPIQ.
“Cleanliness, security matters, noise — especially for dogs. So, this is why many landlords prefer to have a no pet clause.”
He points out 24 per cent of landlords would accept a dog, while 71 per cent will allow a tenant to have a cat.
For some, the issue is greater than a heated debate between tenants and landlords.
“If the government is serious about animal issues, this would be the next step,” said Downey. “The government should look at this issue and figure out a way to keep people from having to abandon their pets.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Quebec Housing Minister Andrée Laforest said “We are aware of the significant role played by animals for many Quebecers and the positive effects on their mental and physical health. Yet, we consider that the contractual freedom between a landlord and a tenant is central.”
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